Know Your Guru | Lord Siva Drinks Poison | Lord Siva Rides on The Bull | Lord Siva Wears The Ganges on His Head | Lord Siva Lilas of Begging | Lord Siva Wears Trident, Deer, etc. | Lord Siva Has Uma on His Left | Lord Siva Wears Elephant Skin | Lord Siva The Fuel Seller
Devotion to the Lord dawns in the heart of a man who has done virtuous actions in his previous births without expectation of fruits and egoism or the idea of agency. Devotion leads to knowledge of the Self (Jnana) and through Jnana, he attains Moksha or the final emancipation. In days of yore, Virasindhu was the king of Kalinga country. He did severe Tapas, meditation and Yoga in his previous birth, but did not attain Moksha. He became a Yoga-Bhrashta as he had to enjoy the fruits of some residual Karmas in this last birth of a King. He took his birth as the son of a king. When he attained the proper age, he was crowned as the king of Kalinga. He ruled the kingdom for a period of ten years.
Owing to the force of previous spiritual Samskaras, and the grace of the Lord, discrimination and dispassion dawned in his heart. He reflected within himself: "I am doing the same acts of eating, drinking and sleeping. My several forefathers who ruled the country, had been reduced to dust. I have no peace of mind despite my wealth and dominion. I should get a Guru and obtain initiation from him to get knowledge of the Atman and reach the abode of immortality and eternal bliss.
King Virasindhu sent invitation to all Pandits, Sannyasins, Sadhus and Mahatmas. He wrote in the letter thus: "I will give half of my dominion to that supreme Guru who will give me the right initiation and make me realise the Self. If he fails to do so he will be put in the prison." Many Pandits and Sadhus saw the king. One gave him Taraka Mantra, another gave Panchakshara, a third gave him Ashtakshara, but no one was able to satisfy the king. He put them all in the prison. He had initiation into these Mantras in his previous births.
King Virasindhu became very restless as he did not obtain his Guru. Lord Siva assumed the form of an ordinary coolie. He had a very black complexion. He wore some rags and appeared before the king. The king went in advance to receive him. Through the grace of the Lord, he came to know that this coolie was none other than the Lord. The coolie raised his hand towards the king and said "stop", and vanished immediately. The king understood that the Guru has commanded him to stop the mind and control its movements. The king closed his eyes, while he was standing, and did not allow the mind to think of the sensual objects. He controlled all the modifications of the mind. It was easy for him as he had practised Yoga and meditation in his previous birth. He entered into Nirvikalpa Samadhi and became like a statue. He did not open his eyes.
The ministers were waiting in the Durbar Hall for hours together. King Virasindhu did not open his eyes for days together. Then the ministers reflected: The king is in Samadhi now. We do not know when he will return from the Samadhi. We will have to manage the affairs of the State." They removed the ring from his finger and used it for putting the seal in the papers of the State. The king opened his eyes after six years, and asked the ministers: "Where is my Guru?" The ministers replied: "O venerable king! The Guru said a word to your majesty and vanished at once. You are standing here like a statue for the last six years. We are conducting the affairs of the state with the aid of your ring. Here is the seal of your ring in all the registers and papers."
The king was struck with awe and wonder. He thought within himself: "Six years have passed like a second. I enjoyed supreme bliss. I have no desire to rule the State after tasting the supreme bliss." He left the palace and entered the forest and sat in Samadhi.
The force of Yogic Samskaras of the king that was generated by the practice of Yoga in his previous birth, helped him in the attainment of the beatitude in this birth. Those who have not much piety and religious inclination in this birth should do Japa, Kirtan, meditation, and study of religious books. They should live in the company of sages. They will develop good religious Samskaras. This will be a valuable asset for them in the next birth. They will start the practice of Yoga in the next birth in the early age.
It is difficult to say in what form the Guru or the Lord will appear before you to initiate you. He may come in the form of a leper as Sri Hanuman did, or in the form of an untouchable as Lord Krishna did, or in the form of a groom as Lord Siva did. The aspirants must be very careful and vigilant to detect the Lord in the various forms which He assumes.
Once, the Devas and the Asuras had a formidable fight for a very long period. Many Devas and Asuras died in the fight. The Devas thought that they should prolong their lives by drinking nectar and then continue the war. They approached Brahma with this desire in view. Brahma said: "This work cannot be done by me. It can be done only by Lord Vishnu." Thereupon, Brahma and the Devas approached Lord Hari in Kshirasagara.
Lord Hari asked the Devas and Asuras to churn the ocean with the help of Mandaragiri as churning-rod and Vasuki, the serpent, as the rope. As they went on churning, poison (Halahala) came out first from the ocean. The terrible poison began to burn the people into ashes. The Devas, the Asuras and the Rishis began to fly away. Lord Vishnu was not able to destroy the poison. His body also became very black. He ran to Kailas along with the Devas and Brahma to see Lord Siva. He reported to Lord Siva all that had happened. Thereupon, Lord Siva collected the poison and kept it as a drop in the palm of His hand and swallowed it. Then Lord Vishnu and Brahma requested Lord Siva to keep it in His neck as a mark of their protection. Lord Siva did it accordingly. Due to the effect of the poison His throat became blue. From that day onwards Lord Siva is called by the name ‘Nilakantha’ (blue-necked one) or ‘Kalakantha Murti’. Then Lord Siva said to them: "If you churn again, you will get nectar and several other things." They all started again the churning of the ocean and obtained nectar and many other things. All the Devas drank the nectar and rejoiced heartily.
Turning of Chatur-Yuga two thousand times, is a day of Brahma. Such thirty days make a month for him. Such twelve months make a year for him. Such hundred years make the full life of Brahma. The whole life-period of Brahma is a day for Lord Vishnu. After one hundred years, Lord Vishnu also will pass away or merge himself in Parabrahman. All the Andas will perish. On account of the heavy blowing of Prachanda Vayu, the seven oceans will ebb high and cover the whole world. Lord Siva alone will exist. He will burn everything into ashes through His fiery third eye and then dance.
The Dharmadevata or the Lord of Virtue reflected within himself: "How can I attain immortality? If I approach Lord Siva only, I can attain this." He assumed the form of a bull, went to Lord Siva and said: "My venerable Lord! Kindly accept me as Thy vehicle and thus protect me." Lord Siva agreed to the humble request of the God of Dharma and said: "Conduct the Dharma with four feet in the Krita Yuga, with the three feet in the Treta Yuga, with two feet in the Dvapara Yuga, and with one foot in the Kali Yuga. On account of My grace, you will be endowed with all splendour and powers. You will be always My vehicle. You will be one with Me." When Lord Siva destroyed Tripuras or the three cities, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a bull and supported Lord Siva.
Once upon a time in Mount Kailas, Parvati closed the eyes of Lord Siva with her hands. Thereupon the sun, moon and fire did not shine forth. This caused terrible havoc in the world. All were enveloped by darkness for a long period. Lord Siva opened His third eye a bit. The sun, moon and fire began to shine again and all darkness vanished.
Parvati was frightened. She removed her hands and dropped down the perspiration from her fingers. This perspiration was turned into ten Gangas with countless branches. These rivers did much havoc to the world. Thereupon Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Indra ran to Lord Siva and requested Him to avert this catastrophe.
Lord Siva felt compassionate and brought the whole waters in one hair of His matted locks.
Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Indra requested Lord Siva to give a little of the water of the Ganga for their worlds. Lord Siva gave them a little. They became Virajanadi in Vaikuntha, Manasa Tirtha in Satyaloka and Devaganga in Indraloka. King Bhagiratha brought down the Ganga from Brahmaloka to save the sixty thousand sons of Sagara.
The Rishis of Darukavana thought that there was no use in loving and adoring Lord Siva and they could attain Moksha through the performance of sacrifices. They left off worship of the Lord and did sacrifices vigorously.
Then Lord Siva said to Lord Hari: "Assume the form of Mohini and enter the abode of all Rishis in Daruka forest. They have no regard for Me now. They are treading the wrong path now. We should teach them a severe lesson. Excite their passion and delude them. Destroy their Vratas." He also put on the form of a mendicant-beggar.
Thereupon, Lord Hari assumed the form of Mohini and entered the dwelling places of the Rishis in Darukavana. All the Rishis lost their power of understanding and discrimination and followed Mohini under strong excitement of passion.
Lord Siva entered the Parnakutirs of the wives of the Rishis, sang the Srutis and hymns beautifully and roamed about as a mendicant-beggar. The wives of Rishis became excited and followed Lord Siva. They entreated Him in a variety of ways to satisfy them. Lord Siva multiplied Himself and appeared in the mind of each woman. All the wives of the Rishis enjoyed heartily. They all brought forth in the morning eighteen thousand Rishis with matted locks, Danda and Kamandalu. They all prayed to Lord Siva. Lord Siva blessed them to do Tapas in the forest. The Rishis acted accordingly.
The Rishis witnessed the condition of their wives and said: "We were deluded by the enchanting Mohini. The mendicant-beggar spoiled the chastity of our wives. Lo! how powerful is lust! Mysterious is Maya!"
The Rishis of Darukavana performed a Yajna to destroy Lord Siva.Acruel tiger came out of the fire. They commanded the tiger to kill Lord Siva. Lord Siva killed the tiger and wore the skin around His waist. Then they created a trident, to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore it in His hand as His instrument. Then they created a deer with sharp horns, to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore it in His left hand.
Later on they created countless black cobras to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore them as His ornaments. Then they created countless Bhuta Ganas to kill the Lord. Lord Siva made them as His army. Then they created a Damaru to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore it in His hand. Then they created an Asura, Muyalaka, to kill the Lord. Muyalaka marched with the Yajna fire to destroy Lord Siva. Lord Siva held the fire as Malu in His hand and kept the Asura under His feet.
After the Samhara was over, Lord Brahma born of the grace of Lord Siva thought of creating all beings. He created Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. They did not enter the life of householders. They developed wisdom and became great Yogis.
Lord Brahma went to Vaikuntha and saw Lord Hari and said to Him: "O venerable Lord! I am not able to continue the creation. Sanaka, Sanandana, etc., have become Yogis. They do not wish to become householders. Kindly suggest to me a way to continue my work of creation." Lord Vishnu said: "This is not in my power. Let us go to Lord Siva who abides in Kailasa." Brahma and Vishnu saw the Lord of Kailasa and said to Him: "O God of gods! The creative work of Brahma has been stopped as the four Kumaras have become Yogis. Kindly bless him to continue his creative work."
Lord Siva looked at the left side of His chest. Uma took Her birth from Lord Siva’s left side. Lord Siva said to them: "Now there is no difficulty in creation. It will continue without any hitch." Thereupon Brahma and Vishnu repaired to their respective abodes. Then Lord Brahma created the worlds through the grace of Lord Siva. Men and women lived together happily and brought forth offsprings. The whole appearance is Saktimaya. Lord Siva witnesses Prakriti’s activities.
In days of yore, Gajasura did severe penance. Brahma appeared before him and asked him: "O Gajasura! I am pleased with your penance. What boon do you want?" Gajasura said: "O venerable Lord! Give me prowess and inexhaustible wealth." "I have given you what you desired. But if you fight against Lord Siva, you will lose your boon." Then Lord Brahma vanished.
Thereupon, Gajasura did Digvijaya, and defeated Devas and Indra. He troubled the Munis and the Rishis also. They repaired to Banares and fell at the feet of Lord Visvanatha and said: "Gajasura is trying to kill us. Protect us. O Lord! There is no other refuge for us." Gajasura attacked Lord Visvanatha also. The Lord killed the Asura, tore the skin and wore it as His garment. Then the Devas and the Rishis praised the Lord and became happy.
Varaguna Pandian was the king of Pandya kingdom. His capital was at Madurai. He was like Indra. Yemanathan, skilled in Vina, came to his Durbar from Northern India. He played thrilling songs on Vina. The king appreciated Yemanathan’s music, gave him rich presents and kept him in a separate bungalow. Yemanathan was very much puffed up owing to his skill in music. Varaguna Pandian understood that Yemanathan was proud of his knowledge of music. He called his Durbar-musician Bhanabhadra and said to him: "O Bhadra! Will you be able to attain victory over the new musician Yemanathan?" Bhanabhadra replied: "I can certainly defeat him through your grace and the blessings of Lord Somasundara of Madurai." The king said: "Well then, come tomorrow and exhibit your skill in music."
The disciples of Yemanathan roamed about in all the streets and lanes of Madurai, played on Vina and vigorously advertised about their skill in music. Bhanabhadra heard this and reflected within himself: "These disciples are very efficient in music and Vina. If the disciples possess such knowledge, what must be the splendour and glory of their Guru! How can I attain victory over this master-musician?" Then he prayed to Lord Siva: "Kindly help me now to defeat Yemanathan. I am in need of Thy grace."
Then the Lord assumed the form of a wood-cutter, wore a rag around his body and torn shoes on his feet. He had a Vina in his hand and a bundle of fuel on his head. He went to the house where Yemanathan was living and sat on the verandah. He took his Vina and played in a marvellous manner. He sang beautifully along with Vina.
Yemanathan was struck with wonder when he heard the wonderful music. He came out and asked the fuel-seller: "O fuel-seller! Who are you?" The fuel-seller replied: "I am one of the disciples and a servant of Bhanabhadra, the Durbar-singer of Varaguna Pandian. He has many disciples. As I became old, my master abandoned me and told me that I am unfit for singing." Yemanathan requested the fuel-seller to sing again. He sang again Satari Raga which melted the heart of Yemanathan. Lord Siva, who acted the part of fuel-seller, vanished with his bundle of fire-wood.
Yemanathan thought within himself: "I have not heard this Satari Raga till now. It is Devaraga. If this old man can sing this Raga in such a beautiful manner, what must be the knowledge and glory of his master! Surely God only ought to have taught him this Raga. I cannot stand before Bhanabhadra. Let me leave this place at once." Yemanathan’s heart was filled with fear and shame. He left all the things and left the house at midnight along with his disciples. Lord Somasundara appeared in the dream of Bhanabhadra and said: "Do not be afraid. I put on the form of fuel-seller, sat on the verandah of the house in which Yemanathan lived and played on the Vina. He was struck with wonder and ran away at midnight. Be at ease now." Bhanabhadra got up in the morning, went to the temple at Madurai and worshipped Lord Somasundara. Then he went to the Durbar of Varaguna Pandian. The king sent a servant to call Yemanathan. The servant searched him in several places. He was not able to find out the new musician. The neighbours of the house in which Yemanathan lived said: "One fuel-seller came and sang. The new singer left the place at midnight. This only we know."
The servant reported the matter to the king. The king said to Bhanabhadra: "Could you tell me what you did after leaving me?" Bhanabhadra told the king: "My venerable Lord! I went to my house and prayed to Lord Somasundara to bless me. He appeared in my dream and said: ‘I put on the form of a fuel-seller, sang Satari Raga in the house of Yemanathan. I drove him away.’ I at once woke up. This is what happened."
Varaguna Pandian came to know that this was the Lila of Lord Siva. He admired the devotion of Bhadra and gave him rich presents. He said to Bhadra: "The Lord who made Brahma and the other Devas His servants, became your servant and blessed you. We are all your servants only. I am your servant. In future sing the praise of Lord Somasundara always." Bhanabhadra rejoiced heartily. He was ever devoted to Lord Somasundara.